Israel will begin receiving vaccinated tourists from abroad through a phased plan that will begin on May 23, the Israeli Tourism Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Israeli Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein have agreed on a framework for receiving tourists, after a ban lasting more than a year due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

“The agreements were reached following the work of the task force set up by the [two] ministries,” said the statement.

In the first stage, a limited number of tour groups will start to arrive on May 23. The number will then increase in line with the “health situation and progress of the program,” the statement added.

Individual travelers will be allowed into Israel in the second stage, with health considerations determining the timeline.

All visitors will have to take a PCR test before boarding flights to Israel, and after arriving at Ben-Gurion International Airport, will need to take a serological test to prove that they have been vaccinated, according to the statement.

“In the meantime, discussions will continue with various countries to reach agreements for vaccine-certificate validation, so as to cancel the need for the serological tests,” said the Tourism Ministry. A more detailed outline of the plan will be released in the upcoming days.

“After opening the economy, it is time to allow tourism in a careful and calculated manner. Opening up tourism is important for one of the fields most hurt during the COVID year. We will continue to look at easing regulations in accordance with the health situation,” said Edelstein.

Farkash-Hacohen said, “Opening the skies to international tourism will truly revive the tourism industry, including restaurants, hotels, sites, tour guides, buses and others looking to work and provide for their families. I will continue to work for the full opening of tourism to Israel, which will greatly assist the Israeli economy and create work for many Israelis.”

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